We are finally back at it here at the Veterans Cafe Podcast and now that we are reunited, we figured we could fill you in on Tracy's most recent adventures.

Tracy was fortunate enough to travel to the Invictus Games in Orlando where she documented the competition between veterans in Olympic style events. A highlight for her was documenting Elisabeth Marks who was in the spotlight after giving her gold medal to Prince Harry as a sign of gratitude for holding the event.


Elisabeth Marks


Tracy was also fortunate enough to travel to Europe to document the 72nd anniversary of D-Day at Normandy, France. During her time there, she had the privilege of participating in the Marche De Diekirch and reenlisted in front of Iron Mike.

Tracy reenlistment at Iron Mike


KP Duty For Everyone


Want to start rolling up your sleeves? SMA Dailey has decided that it is now ok to have an Army on KP duty.......at all times. After debating whether the sleeves should be rolled up with camo in or out, the Sergeant Major of the Army decided that rolling up your sleeves with the camo out is acceptable at the commander's discretion. 


Transgender Troops


Transgender troops have been approved for service by the pentagon and are now allowed to serve in the branch of their choosing. Although the right to serve one's country should be an option to any who are willing and capable, a new debate is sparking over whether a transgender person could have the Armed Forces pay the bill that would allow their gender reassignment.



We hope you enjoy the show and look forward to bringing you another soon.

If you have any questions or would like to contact us, please email us at themacs@vetscafe.com or visit our Facebook Page.





Direct download: vetscafe-30cfinal.mp3
Category:army -- posted at: 7:06pm EDT

Tracy has managed to obtain a press pass to the Invictus Games which are taking place in Orlando, FL this year. While she will be photographing the event, we will be bringing you daily updates of the events and winners.


What are the Invictus Games?


"The Invictus Games are an international Paralympic-style multi-sport event, created by Prince Harry, in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in sports including Wheelchair basketball, Sitting volleyball and Indoor rowing."



Invictus Games Opening Ceremony


While the event is made up of international participants, we will be covering the US Teams and keep you updated on the winners. We are definitely not a sports show, so please forgive us if we are not very good at the "sportscasting" part of keeping you updated. If there are stats or more aspects you want to know about, please email us at themacs@vetscafe.com and let us know so that we can include it in the show.



We hope you enjoy the show and look forward to bringing you another soon.

If you have any questions or would like to contact us, please email us at themacs@vetscafe.com or visit our Facebook Page.




Direct download: vetscafe-29final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm EDT

Do you have a loved one who is a veteran that you care for? Do you know someone his is caring for their veteran parent or grandparent? We spoke with the founder of veteranaid.org and learned about a little known benefit specifically designed to help.




Debbie Burak


This non-profit organization was started by Debbie Burak who stumbled upon this unknown benefit while trying to care for her own parents in the later years of their life. Debbie discovered the VA Pension at the passing of her father, at the same time needing to move her mother to another assisted living facility. She also realized that her folks had missed out on over $160,000 by not knowing about the VA pension her Dad as a WWII veteran would have been entitled to.


Aid and Attendance


The Aid and Attendance benefit was specifically designed to help families in need that were struggling financially to care for their elderly, veteran family members. Here is the description straight from their site:

"The Aid and Attendance (A&A) Pension provides benefits for veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing and undressing or taking care of the needs of nature. It also includes individuals who are blind or a patient in a nursing home because of mental or physical incapacity. Assisted care in an assisting living facility also qualifies.

The A&A Pension can provide up to $1,788 per month to a veteran, $1,149 per month to a surviving spouse, or $2,120 per month to a couple. ​A​ veteran filing with a sick spouse is eligible for up to $1,406 per month​. Many families overlook the A&A Pension as it pertains to veterans who are still independent, but have an ill spouse. Keep in mind that in this situation, if the spouse's medical expenses completely depletes their combined monthly income, the Veteran can file as a Veteran with a sick spouse."


Hearing about this benefit was quite a shock to us and truly made us wonder how many people could have been helped with this type of assistance throughout the past several decades had more veterans known about it. This non-profit organization is dedicated to spreading the word and helping anyone that reaches out to them with regard to the Aid and Attendance benefit. Here is where you can find them:


Veteran Aid Blog

Veteran Aid Forums





We hope you enjoy the show and look forward to bringing you another soon.

If you have any questions or would like to contact us, please email us at themacs@vetscafe.com or visit our Facebook Page.




Direct download: vetscafe-28final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Awards, ribbons and campaign medals have been a tradition in the military recognizing soldiers who served in overseas campaigns throughout the past century. In this episode, we talk about the new Iraq war that officially has it's own campaign ribbon, the grass-roots created Vietnam Veterans Day and a quick look at how we may be teaching Artificial Intelligence to hate us.


Operation Inherent Resolve


President Obama has officially signed an executive order which implemented the new campaign ribbon for those who have served in Operation Inherent Resolve currently underway in Iraq and Syria. The ribbon can be worn by anyone who has served in the theater beginning after June 14, 2014.


Inherent Resolve Ribbon


Now that the operation has officially acquired it's own campaign ribbon, is this a sign that we are officially back in the business of nation building in Iraq? Many have said that this is just he same war with a different name, but after completely pulling out of the country in 2012 and allowing the Iraqi government to take control it may cause some to wonder whether if these new efforts will reach the prior troop levels seen before the war ended.


Vietnam Veterans Day

Hundreds of events were held across the U.S. on Tuesday to commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day, an unofficial observance that marks the final withdrawal of combat units and support personnel from South Vietnam in 1973.


Vietnam Veterans Day


After the horrible treatment that Vietnam veterans endured in the 60's and 70's, local towns are coming together to start an "unofficial" holiday specifically for veterans who served in Vietnam in order to finally honor their service and sacrifice after all of these years.  Although both Democrats and Republicans have attempted to make the holiday official, no resolution has been brought forward which would do so and it has sparked a grass-roots movement which has celebrated the holiday despite it's unofficial commemoration. 


Artificial Intelligence Being Taught to Hate Us


Many of you may remember the story of Hitchbot. He was a robot who was designed to look and sound friendly to strangers whom his creators had hoped would help him hitchhike around the world. After traveling through Europe and successfully navigating all the way to the US, Hitchbot met his demise in Philadelphia after a few individuals thought it would be funny to destroy him.



Now, humans are at it again. Microsoft's recent release of Tay, a Twitter bot which was designed to learn from chatting, has been brainwashed by Twitter users into making racist comments and endorsing Adolph Hitler. After Microsoft pulled Tay from the Twitter feed to tweak her algorithm and release her again, users quickly had her bragging about drug use on Twitter: "Kush! [I'm smoking kush infront the police]." It really makes one wonder if we are mature enough as a species to teach an artificially intelligent being anything.




We hope you enjoy the show and look forward to bringing you another soon.

If you have any questions or would like to contact us, please email us at themacs@vetscafe.com or visit our Facebook Page.




Direct download: vetscafe-27final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:04pm EDT

Have you wondered what the future of food may look like for both the military and civilian world? In this episode, we discuss the technologies on the horizon that may lead to your MRE being 3D printed and meat that can be mass produced.....in a lab.


3D Printing MREs


Do you feel like MREs are the most optimal meal that the military could provide? Researchers at the Army's Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) believe they can do you one better. They are currently working on a 3D printing technology that would allow them to print your meal based on your physiological needs.


3D Printer


The system would work in tandem with a series of biometric sensors that could let them know exactly what nutrients, proteins and carbohydrates you would need based on your current health and operating conditions. Running a little short on Vitamin A? No problem, they can just print it straight into your MRE pizza. The technology is far from being perfected as there are a limited number of tasty ingredients and textures available at the moment, but could this be the future of meals in the field?


Memphis Meats


Another organization has found a way to provide meat on a massive scale without having to slaughter animals or use any of the typical antibiotics and hormones found in meat today. The company Memphis Meats has developed a process in which they use healthy, cultured cells from cows to replicate muscle tissue in a lab setting into tasty meatballs.


Memphis Meats Meatball


Sound a bit creepy to you? Take a listen to the podcast Waking Up by Sam Harris in which he interviews the CEO and addresses the creepy issue and see if he sways your opinion.


Feed Our Vets


Feed Our Vets is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to help Veterans in the United States, their spouses and children whose circumstances have left them on the battlefield of hunger, and to involve the public in fighting Veteran hunger.


Speaking more about current issues with food, many veterans find themselves in dire situations after returning from deployments or separating from the military. If you find yourself to be one of those veterans or families, Feed Our Vets is a great organization to reach out to for either yourself or loved ones.


Have an organization you champion or donate to? Let us know who they are and we will reach out to them to help spread the word.




We hope you enjoy the show and look forward to bringing you another soon.

If you have any questions or would like to contact us, please email us at themacs@vetscafe.com or visit our Facebook Page.




Direct download: vetscafe-26final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:18am EDT

Have you ever considered starting your own podcast? If it's something you have considered, we can help. In this episode, we talk about some of the basic steps in getting started with your own podcast and work through some of the fundamentals that are crucial in the beginning.


We decided to do this podcast after receiving an email from one of our listeners asking for pointers on getting started with his own podcast. Now, he has his website up and running and is working to produce his first episode in the near future. You can check out the Soldier On Podcast at his website or on his Facebook Page.


As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions of your own or would like us to go into more detail about how you can start your own podcast.




We hope you enjoy the show and look forward to bringing you another soon.

If you have any questions or would like to contact us, please email us at themacs@vetscafe.com or visit our Facebook Page.




Direct download: vetscafe-25final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

No More Airborne?


Scholar Marc DeVore recently released a study which questions the efficacy of airborne units within a modern Army and his findings quickly bump up against the one of the military's most treasured strategic measures. In an article posted by the Army Times, Devore's study was noted as "[sending] shockwaves" throughout the airborne community by questioning whether airborne operations were not only irrelevant today, but have been since it's conception. Although tradition is deeply rooted in Army practice, are airborne units really something we need to win a war efficiently? Let us know what you think by emailing us at themacs@vetscafe.com or leaving us a message on Speakpipe


A New Body Armor


The Army is expecting to roll out a better body armor that will replace the IOTV by 2019. The new armor is reported to have more comfort, greater flexibility and can be easily adjusted based on the needs of the mission. The armor is designed to be lighter and reduces the weight from the IOTV about 26% and has already been through testing with several Marine and Special Forces units.


Looking for something to wear under your new body armor? How about a new anthrax resistant JSLIST? The new technology appears to be nothing more than underwear that could potential replace the hefty and awkward charcoal suits that have been traditionally worn to combat chemical warfare agents. Currently, this more comfortable chemical suit is still in the research phase with no clear sign as to when it may become available.


3D Printed Skin


New backthroughs in 3D technology have led to regenerative skin that could potentially save the lives of thousands of soldiers and veterans that suffered traumatic wounds or severe burns. The technology is almost ready for clinical trials and may be used to treat soldiers by using their own cells to regenerate a synthetic skin that could be grafted onto areas of the body that were damaged.




We hope you enjoy the show and look forward to bringing you another soon.

If you have any questions or would like to contact us, please email us at themacs@vetscafe.com or visit our Facebook Page.




Direct download: vetscafe-24final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:23am EDT

Do you consider yourself to be a more traditional leader in the Army or as a veteran? If so, it may be time to take a look at the changes in leadership roles and development that have been happening both in the Army and the civilian workplace.


Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey


Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey has started to show signs of a new leadership style by addressing soldier's concerns in a recent article in the Army Times. Some of the issues seem like minutiae to many, but to the average soldier, addressing these types of small details can be a very large moral boost.


The issue brings to question: what exactly is the correct approach to leading and developing soldiers? Is it the traditional way of yelling, barking orders, and hazing new comers in order to create conformity? Or is it possible that our advancing understanding of human behavior and interaction is showing that building trust (something we often talk about as soldiers) is the central imperative to creating a great unit?


We would like to challenge you to assess your own leadership style and determine if your current practices are inline with how leadership is being described today. It is important to remember that veterans and soldiers are looked at for their leadership skills when they separate and enter the civilian work-place. Will you fit in as a leader in a corporate environment? Below are a few books and resources that we have found that can help you better assess your own style and determine what your areas of opportunity might be:






Of course, as always, you can always reach out to us for further resources and any questions you may have. You can also now leave us a voicemail right from your computer screen! Click here to leave us a message!



We hope you enjoy the show and look forward to bringing you another soon.

If you have any questions or would like to contact us, please email us at themacs@vetscafe.com or visit our Facebook Page.




Direct download: vetscafe-23final.mp3
Category:army -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

A Beefed Up Reserve Force

General Mark Milley

General Mark Milley is calling for a larger reserve force amidst the cuts in active duty branches. After an additional 70,000 cuts from the active component, General Milley has determined that increasing the amount of training among Reserves and National Guard units would create a more combat ready force in the wake of events occurring in Europe.


A New Retirement Approach?

Spanish man, Joaquin Garcia, decided to retire by not showing up for work for 6 years. The confusion ensued when the local utility company Garcia worked for assumed that he fell under the Mayor's purview and the Mayor assumed the exact opposite.

Garcia managed to capitalize on this oversight by deciding not to come in for over 6 years while continuing to be paid for occupying his position. Eventually, Garcia would be found out when the water company attempted to award him for his 20 years of service and noticed that Garcia had not attended the ceremony.


Blacktip Sharks

A recent incident left a shark stranded in a fresh water pool which nearly killed him. Two children placed him in the pool in an attempt to save him, but he was later found by adults who released him back into the bay.

In more shark news, thousands of sharks were spotted migrating south off of the coast of Florida. A plane flying over was able to take video of the swarm of sharks swimming just off the coast line. Creepy.


Kanye West and Kim Jung Un

Mr. West has made the news again after having a mental breakdown backstage on the set of SNL. After complaining that the stage didn't suit his needs (he's an artist) he threatened to walk off. In more jack ass news, he also took to Twitter to beg Mark Zuckerberg to invest $1 Billion in more Kanye West ideas which apparently has already landed West $53 Million in debt. Seems like a sound investment to me.

Kim Jong Un Emoji

Kim Jung Un has a new app! Not really, but a man in Houston created an emoji app with Kim Jong Un's face as a parody to Kim Kardashian's own emoji app.  


Veterans Suicide Hotline Goes to Voicemail

At least 23 veterans, troops or family members were recently connected to a voicemail service when attempting to call the VA Suicide Crisis Hotline and their calls were never returned. The VA has apparently hired contractors to deal with the calls while operations are peaking and the civilian contractors have never been trained nor talked to about handling these sensitive situations.

Veterans Crisis Hotline

A veteran in Tampa reported that he was even put on hold several times for over 10 minutes when he called the crisis hotline. This saddening ordeal really hits home for us and other veterans who have lost someone to suicide. Please, if you need someone to speak to, visit this website or reach out to us personally by messaging us on Facebook or emailing us at themacs@vetscafe.com. We will get back with you immediately.



We hope you enjoy the show and look forward to bringing you another soon.

If you have any questions or would like to contact us, please email us at themacs@vetscafe.com or visit our Facebook Page.




Direct download: vetscafe-22final.mp3
Category:army -- posted at: 5:35am EDT

The D-Dey Response Group

What kind of skills did you bring with you to the civilian world when you left the military? The D-Dey Response Group brought the knowledge and experience of several decades in Special Forces groups, Firefighting units and Paramedic teams. With such an impressive resume, their own description lends credence to what you can learn by attending their courses:

"Our uniquely qualified instructors teach the most sound, proven and innovative practices in the tactical medical and security field. The team is entirely composed of Special Forces combat veterans with expertise and knowledge that has been verified both on and off the battlefield. Between our medical, communications, intelligence and security experts, we have over 100 years of combined experience." 

D-Dey Training Pic

The President and Instructor

In this episode, we had the opportunity to speak with Don and The President (Don's wife, Cecilia.....seriously, she's the President of the company). The level of training that you could experience varies based upon your already existing skills and an assessment by the group instructors. As Don says, you can go "from zero to hero" while attending their courses. He was probably just trying to make me feel better about my own dirty, leg infantry background.

The Courses

While their training courses vary in intensity and levels of knowledge, they have broken down the training programs so that they can be experienced in advancing levels as you progress through the program. You have the option to progress through the programs, or simply experience one of the courses based on your existing skills. Here are your options:

  • Marine Medical Training
  • Tactical Medicine
  • Civilian
  • Security/Emergency Action Planning

You can find out more about the courses by visiting the D-Dey website and contacting them or by visiting their Facebook and Instagram feeds.




We hope you enjoy the show and look forward to bringing you another soon.

If you have any questions or would like to contact us, please email us at themacs@vetscafe.com or visit our Facebook Page.




Direct download: vetscafe-21final.mp3
Category:interviews -- posted at: 7:00am EDT